Protecting our differences

Biden signs law codifying marriage for all



U.S. President Joe Biden signs the Respect for Marriage Act during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

Story by Anna Lee, Staff Writer

On Dec. 13, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act. Under this act, same-sex and interracial marriage are to be recognized by federal law, codifying marriage for all.

“The Respect for Marriage Act will safeguard the rights and protections to which LGBTQ+ and interracial couples and their children are entitled,” President Biden stated in an Instagram post on Dec. 12, 2022. Per, “The bill replaces provisions that define, for purposes of federal law, marriage as between a man and a woman and spouse as a person of the opposite sex with provisions that recognize any marriage between two individuals that is valid under state law.”

For many years, states were not required to recognize same-sex marriage. This took the opportunity away from some of the people who needed this right to marry their partner and be recognized as next of kin, forcing them to move to states that legalized same-sex marriage or explore other costly options to transfer property legally after death. 

“I think this act reassures me for my future,” sophomore Leo Bevington said. “I just want to marry who I love, and this makes me more comfortable in doing so.”

Similar to same-sex marriage, the act also guarantees interracial couples recognition of marriage across state lines. While marriage licenses have been issued to interracial couples for years, this provides extra protection for their rights of marriage and next of kin. 

“I think it is a big step because it is going to protect even more Americans than there has been in the past,” senior Desiree Anderson said. “It is bringing in two groups that have been oppressed in the past and looked down on, and putting them at the same level of what has been considered the ‘norm’.”

This act will repeal the Defense of Marriage Act that went into law on May 7, 1996. This act stated that “No state, territory or possession of the United States or Indian Tribe shall be required to give effect to any marriage between persons of the same sex under the laws of any other such jurisdiction or to any right or claim arising from such relationship.” 

“[I feel] like [the Defense of Marriage Act] put so many limitations on letting people be who they are,” Bevington said. “It could have scared people away from being true to themselves by making them feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.”

The Respect for Marriage Act provides legal protections for citizens as they move about the country and also protects beneficiaries in the event of death or inheritance.

“Marriage equality is finally a federal law,” Vice President Harris said in an Instagram post on Dec. 13, 2022. “It’s a good day.”